If you are interested in exploring some Cancun cenotes, you must know that there are no cenotes in Cancun. The good news is that you can find spectacular cenotes at only 30 minutes drive from Cancun and in this post, I will tell you where.
Cancun is an amazing vacation destination where you can enjoy endless white-sand beaches while gazing at the overwhelming intense turquoise blue of the ocean, but also you can take daily trips to visit the incredible attractions in the surrounding areas.
There are so many things to do in Cancun and surrounding that you can spend a month exploring. It’s nice to go out on an adventure knowing that you will go back to your luxury hotel in Cancun on its unparalleled beach.
Visiting the cenotes near Cancun is one of those things that you absolutely cannot miss.
Cancun Cenotes at a glance
As I was mentioning, the nearest Cenotes to Cancun, at only 30 minutes distance, are those lining up the rightfully called “La Ruta de los Cenotes“, an internal road that goes from Puerto Morelos to Leona Vicario. If you have only half a day, this is definitely your choice and you can even squeeze in a couple of cenotes in a short time because they are all very close to each other.
However, if you have more time, I would suggest you go a little farther and explore other amazing cenotes in the area. And in this post, I will share the best unmissable cenotes within 30 minutes to 2 hours drive from Cancun.
So, without any further ado, let’s explore the top 21 Cenotes near Cancun
What is a cenote?
Before moving forward, I need to spend a few words on what is a cenote. If you want to know more in detail about the geology of the Mexican Cenotes you can click on the link and read my full article. If you know already, you can skip this paragraph and go straight to the list of the Cenotes near Cancun.
The Mexican cenotes are deep underwater lakes whose waters are filtered from the rocks either from underneath from the sea or the rain water from above.
How are cenotes created?
Let me just give you a simple explanation. Because the entire region is flat and made of limestone bedrocks, those allow the rainwater to filtrate the soil from above and the sea water from the bottom creating huge deposits of water and underground rivers.
Cenotes as a Mayan heritage
The importance of the cenotes goes back to the Mayan times, the pre-Hispanic population that inhabited this area.
For the Mayan civilization, the cenotes were both precious and unique sources of water provision and sacred places for their religious ceremonies.
There are more than 6000 cenotes (imagine that!) all over the entire Yucatan Peninsula territory, many of them are private, others have been accessible for the public to enjoy. This makes it also a decent source of income for the local owners.
I tell you more more about the history and geology in my yucatan cenotes post.
Cancun Cenotes Map
Cancun Cenotes: La Ruta de los Cenotes Puerto Morelos
La Ruta de los Cenotes translates with “the Cenote road”. It is in fact a road that stretches from Puerto Morelos, a beach resort 30 minutes drive from Cancun, to Leona Vicario, and it’s lined with amazing cenotes of all sorts. Some of them are cave cenotes other are open. Some quiet and others with activities.
There is everything for everyone, but let’s see my top favorites Cenotes in La Ruta de Los Cenotes.
💡 Cancun cenotes tip – I am including the distance from Cancun to any of the mentioned cenote
Cenote Las Mojarras 52 km/ 32.3mi
A huge 65mt large cenote surrounded by a lush tropical forest. There you can jump from a 6 mt platform or just chill and swim in the cool sweet waters.
They have also camping facilities, bathrooms, and changing rooms. It’s located at km 12.6 of the Ruta de los Cenotes.
Cenote 7 bocas 53.9km/33.49
This cenote is the one I regret not having seen. It’s a huge tunnel with 7 entrances – hence 7 Bocas, which means 7 months in Spanish. You can swim through the tunnel. If you are a scuba diver there is also a very deep cenote where you can enjoy cenote diving with a certified guide.
There is a small stair to enter and it’s very deep and quite challenging, if not dangerous to scuba diving. It’s located at km 16. (12miles)
Verde Lucero 55 Km/34.1 mi
Verde Lucero is another great open cenote where you can swim, jump or launch yourself on a sort of zipline. The water is of a beautiful emerald green if it’s sunny. It’s surrounded by skyscraping trees and a lush jungle. (km 17 – 12.7 miles from Puerto Morelos)
After swimming you can relax under the palapa and look for spider monkeys.
It’s open every day from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.
Cost 300 MXN (15 USD) 150 MXN (7.5 USD) for Mexican residents.
Kin-Ha – 63.4 km/39.39 mi
Kin-ha is one of my favorite cenotes near Cancun and when I have friends coming to visit I normally take them there. It’s a cave cenote and you can either jump in it or you can easily climb some man-made stairs.
The family that runs this cenote also organizes tours in Quod in the jungle where they take you to another huge open cenote.
The surroundings of Kin-ha are also pleasant. After you swim you can also chill on the chairs or hammocks and relax enjoying a cold drink.
Cenote La Noria 60.7 km/ 37.7mi
Not too far from Cenote Kin-Ha, after a little detour, you will find this deep cave cenote, la Noria. Also, you need to climb down some stairs to get inside. It’s like entering the womb of mother earth. Kin-ha on a detour on our right. You will see a small sign. It’s a cave cenote as well, with wooden stairs to get to a platform.
Cenotes Zapote 65,2 km/ 40.5
Cenotes Zapote is a Prehistoric Park that includes 4 different cenotes, 2 open cenotes, and 2 cave cenotes (underground).
The place is organized like an amusement park where you can choose among different activities or do all of them. On the Cenotes Zapote website, you can choose and purchase your preferred package.
It takes us approximately 3 to 4 hours for the complete tour, but it all depends on your own speed and available time.
Why is it called prehistoric park?
Once inside the park, as a part of the tour, you will receive an explanation on the history of Xicalbanoyx Oviceps the extinct sloth of the ice age a new species of giant sloth whose antiquity between 10 thousand 647 and 10 thousand 305 BC, known as POTE honor to the Cenotes Zapote park. (source)
- During the tour there a guide who will assist you throughout your journey through the different activities.
- You can enjoy a regional buffet with handmade tortillas presented in Yucatecan tacos and freshwaters.
- The facilities have safety rails to access the cenotes, living areas, separate bathrooms for men and women, and adaptations such as ramps and flat dirt roads for the seniors.
- Also available, certified safety equipment included in each activity for the whole family from the smallest to the most adult people.
Cenote Boca del Puma 53.2 km/33 mi
The Cenote Boca del Puma is a great way to spend the day for adventure seekers. In fact, it doesn’t offer only a cenote to refresh and swim. It’s a real park with 7 ziplines and ATV guided tours among the Jungle. You can check out the full program on their website.
Cenotes near Cancun in Yucatan
The Yucatan state is the richest in terms of Cenotes. If you are looking to organize a road trip around Yucatan instead of day trips from Cancun, please make sure you include the Cenotes of Homun and Cuzama.
Around Valladolid and Merida you can find amazing cenotes too and if you love to splurge you can check out the Yucatan haciendas where to stay in the heart of Yucatan surrounded by the tropical vegetation and cenotes. 🙂
Here below I will share those cenotes that are close to Cancun and reachable in a one day trip.
Cenote Choj-ha 114 km/70.83 mi
Located on the freeway from Cancun to Valladolid, at only 30 minutes before getting to Valladolid this spectacular cenote should definitely be on your places-to-see list.
It’s been nick-named Catedral de las Maravillas which means “Cathedral of wonders”.
it’s open every day from 8 to 5 although I suggest you should avoid weekends, Wednesdays and Fridays which are cruise days and therefore much more crowded.
Cost: 100 MXN (at the time)
Here is the picture I took. I was so lucky as nobody was there when I went.
Cenote Zaci 156 km/96.93 mi
The Cenote Zaci is a beautiful open cenote located right in the heart of Valladolid at only 2 blocks from the main plaza. It’s a beautiful refreshing sinkhole surrounded by vegetation and rock formations, great for a refreshing deep in the summer heat of Valladolid.
It’s open every day from 9 to 5 and the entry fee is only 30 MXN (1.5 USD)
Cenote Suytun 162 km/100 mi
You might have seen this cenote multiple times on Instagram as it’s one of the most photographed.
Located at only 6 km from Valladolid it opens at 9 but if you wish to take your picture without the crowd you should be there by 8 or 8,30 drive around to the cabañas reception and they will open the cenote for you.
Entry fee 120 MXN per person.
Read more about the Cenotes near Valladolid
Cenotes near Cancun on the Riviera Maya
Cenote Azul 95.8 km/59.52 mi
You can swim, jump or just bask in the sun on one of the platforms or benches.
Avoid Saturdays and Sundays if you are not fond of crowded places.
Cenote Cristalino 95.8km/59.52 mi
This cenote, for being so close to the city and very accessible is often very crowded. In order to enjoy it fully, you should avoid weekends and prefer early hours.
The entrance fee is 150 pesos (7 USD)
Cenote Eden 95.9km/59.58 mi
The cenote Eden is one of the divers’ favorites among the open cenotes of the Riviera Maya.
It’s a very wide cenote with impressive rock formations in the bottom that you can easily see through the crystal clear water.
In this cenote, I also managed to find the courage to jump too, from one of the platforms.
It was a weekday and the cenote was not that crowded. Just a few tourists and some divers.
In the cenote of Eden, you can also take your snorkeling gear and enjoy watching what’s underwater. Or you can just chill and swim around.
Cenote dos Ojos 121 km/75.1 mi
The Cenote Dos Ojos, which means 2 eyes, is one of the most popular among divers and regular visitors.
If you want to dive, it requires a good level of preparation, the suitable equipment, and an expert guide.
But if you just want to enjoy the cenote swim and snorkel you can just go for it with no restriction but the usual safety measures.
Read more about how to visit Cenote Dos Ojos.
Cenote Taak Bi Ha 121 km/75.18 mi
I went to check out cenote Taak Bi – Ha twice because the first time my camera failed me and all the pictures I took disappeared.
However I found this cenote so beautiful that it was worth going back and give it another shot (literally) this time the pictures came out decently.
Entrance fee 350 MXN
You can check them out, together with more detailed info on how to get there and what to do in my dedicated post on the Cenote Taak-bi-ha. It’s a little complicated to find and in my post, I will explain how.
Cenote Caleta Yal-ku
Cenote Caleta Yalku is a cenote in disguise because it’s inside a bay in Akumal and if you don’t it, it’s difficult to see the cenote.
The lagoon is surrounded by mangroves home to many birds and fished, which makes a great place for snorkeling and swimming.
Unfortunately, I visited on a very overcast day but the grey clouds didn’t take away its beauty.
I would recommend taking a snorkeling tour with a local guide to make your trip even more enjoyable. There is a lot of sea life to discover right there. To know more about it read my article on the beaches of the Riviera Maya.
Cenotes near Cancun in Tulum area
Cenote Aktun Ha (also called Cenote CarWash) 137 km/85.1 mi
What I love about this cenote is that is less known and less visited. Also you can walk around all its perimeter through a jungle path. Many beginner divers especially love it.
It’s quite a large natural pool of crystalline water not far away from Tulum.
- The entrance fee is only 50MXN unless you dive in which case it’s 250 MXN, besides the cost of the dive itself.
- The life vest is 20 MXN
- Open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.
- Changing room and brand new bathrooms available as well.
Grand Cenote 133 km/82.64 mi
The Grand Cenote is one of the most popular, the most expensive and the most crowded.
It is a nice cenote indeed but I believe they are a little abusive with charging so much. They also want to charge me for shooting with a tripod, which I found ridiculous. Luckily I could get away with a few shots before they caught me.
It’s a very beautiful cenote, no doubt, where you can swim through natural tunnels, jump and enjoy the natural surroundings, but if you get there when it’s crowded, which is most of the times, it takes away the magic.
Make sure you get there early morning.
Cenote Calavera 133 km/82.6 mi
The Cenote Calavera is another very much Instagrammed cenote and one of the smallest among the Tulum Cenotes on the way to Coba.
It is especially known among divers but also photographers.
You can jump but there is not much space for swimming.
Even if you don’t dive you can still admire it for 50 pesos and have fun jumping from the rim.
How to get there
From Tulum, you can go by bicycle or taxi, on the main road to Coba on the right side.
Cenote Corazon 137 km/85.1 mi
I have recently found out about Cenote Corazon, a spectacular cenote shaped like an heart- with a little imagination. Hence the name.
Open from 9 am to 4 pm
Entrance fee: 100 MXN (when I went)
There are wooden platforms nicely located along the rim where you can lay down and relax.
Get there in the morning, and possibly avoid weekends if you love peace and tranquillity.
Laguna Kaan – Loom 141 km/ 87.6 mi
It’s a spectacular lagoon with a cenote in it, located just a 10 minutes drive from Tulum. It’s a favorite by locals, but there is not much space for you to hang out there. Read more on my dedicated post on Laguna Kaan Loom.
What to bring when you visit a cenote
Here is a list of things you need to remember to take with you when you visit a cenote:
- ecological repellent
- ecological sunscreen (that you should wear only after swimming in the cenote)
- snorkeling gear
- dress light
- bring an extra set of swimsuit to get changed after
Cenote rules: how to respect the environment when you visit a cenote
I always like to recommend some common and easy practice that respect the environment and help preserving it. Even if it’s just a grain of sand, everything helps. And it’s nice to know that we can contribute.
- sunscreen or repellent are prohibited before bathing in the cenotes
- If you use them after, make sure they are eco-friendly.
- don’t leave anything that doesn’t belong to the place – Aka don’t litter
- you cannot hang onto stalactites or stalagmites or trees roots
- don’t do anything that can damage the environment
How to get to the cenotes from Cancun
That’s even more true if you are visiting cenotes. It’s much easier to go on your own at your own pace without having to rush it or following someone elese’s schedule.
With the exception of the cenotes of the Riviera Maya that are right on the main road and accessible by local “colectivos” (minivan), it is very difficult to reach all the other cenotes by local transportation.
If you don’t feel confident driving in Mexico, which is absolutely understandable, you can always hire a taxi for the entire day or the hours you need. In this case make sure you ask your hotel reception or hire a taxi driver that you trust. Usually they are quite abusive in that area of Mexico and charge you outrageous prices. So, make sure you negotiate before.
I hope this post was useful and you are now planning your Cenote trip from Cancun. Let me know if you have any questions and if you liked this post I would appreciate it if you could share it. 🙂
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